This time last year, I was having a minor panic attack in the bathroom of a lounge in Flat Iron.
I was a little tipsy and my friend J was trying to calm me down, but there was no getting around my anxiety.
Do you see what I have to put up with out there? Dating SUCKS. It’s seriously the WORST. I tell you J, if I’m single this time next year, I will leave New York. I will go somewhere where it’s better and the guys are better. Seriously, it can’t be THIS bad everywhere.
Now, let me backup: J and I had a day out together on the Upper East, bumming around and trying a new spot for dinner. She talked to me into going out, even though I was cranky and didn’t really feel hot enough to be seen in public. She also talked me into inviting a Tinder guy out to meet us for a drink – thinking that having a third wheel would lighten the blow if the date was bad.
Turns out, the blow was still pretty intense.
He wasn’t anything extraordinarily terrible or anything, just another guy that I wasn’t that into. He was fine, sure, but after going out on so many ‘just okay’ dates, I was so frustrated with my track record, that I was near hyperventilating. J tried to talk me down off the ledge, but I just couldn’t be bothered…
… I was tired of being single and there wasn’t anything she could say to make me feel better about it.
A year later, I’m still going on (pretty bad) dates, and sure, sometimes I get upset that in a city full of so many possibilities, the dating scene is pretty damn bleak. But even though my relationship status hasn’t changed, something more important has:
My attitude about it.
Maybe it was because my mom tied the knot at 25 or that 25 felt so old to me (for whatever reason), but being quote-on-quote alone at the big 2-5 seems like such a bad omen. I didn’t know it then, but I was wrong.
I’ve never felt sexier or prettier or happier flying solo than I do now. I’m no longer worried about ‘what it means’ to be single for almost three years and I’m not concerned about how long it might take for me to meet someone worth all of this waiting and dating. I’m not focused on finding The One for me by scrolling through Tinder or Match or OkCupid or Hinge or whatever.
While I do hope for love (of course!), I’m not in any rush at all. I’m actually pretty picky about who I give up this single status for.
I never thought I’d get to a place where I was at peace with being single, considering I’m the girl who makes wishes on first stars and cries in every single romantic comedy she watches. Or the kind of girl that takes pictures of elderly couples hanging out on the bench or notices hearts in places that most people wouldn’t see. It’s true that I’m pretty much in love with all things love-oriented or love-inspired, and while I might have the luxury of writing about love for a living, thinking so much about one topic has made me realize that honestly…
…there is no answer.
There’s no way to predict when, why, where or how you’ll meet someone. You can’t have the most clickable online dating profile. You can’t put yourself in the right places at the right time. You can’t say the funniest things or be the sexiest woman and meet the perfect man. You can’t force your friends to introduce you to a mutual buddy and watch the sparks fly. You can’t just randomly stumble across him in a bookstore or a cafe, at a museum or at the bar.
You can’t force magic. But you can believe in it.
And I do. With all of my heart. But I also believe that before I have this once-in-a-lifetime love affair, I want to create magic all on my own. And that mentality has helped me stop worrying about being single more than anything – instead of focusing on love, I’ve focused on myself. I’ve traveled more than I ever have, I’ve moved jobs (twice now!), I’ve moved apartments and I’m making more and more plans that aren’t based on the idea that I’ll one day be a taken woman, but based on what I want to do with my life. If the right guy comes along, I’ll be thrilled. If he doesn’t, I still have so much to look forward to.
I never thought there could be magic in my life without being in love. Somehow, without that great man, how could I have a great life? Easily. There is so much magic in every single moment, you just have to get out of your head long enough to see it. You have to stop freaking out in the stall of a bathroom and look around you instead – at the free jazz music you’re lucky enough to listen to, at the patient voice of your friend trying to talk sense into you, at the opportunity you have every time you walk out of your front door and embrace the world in front of you.
You never know what will be around the next corner or who you will meet on the next flight you take or who will be sitting next to you at happy hour next week. But instead of looking for love – or trying to predict it – I think I’ll just continue focusing on the magic I already have.
Because if I open my eyes – and of course, my heart – I see it everywhere.